Showing newest 38 of 52 posts from September 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 38 of 52 posts from September 2010. Show older posts

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Penchant for Parsnips

We couldn't have Oui Chef! week without some amazing Cheffy Daddy recipes now, could we!? Today Cheffy Daddy's recipes are based around parsnips. He's been a fan for as long as I can  remember, so it's no wonder that he has decided to share more than one recipe with you today PLUS a ton of inspirational ideas for dishes of your own and flavour combinations.





And seeing as it is Oui Chef! Launch Week we are offering the readers of BECKICKLESIE a chance to get your Oui Chef! Kitchen Porter badge before the main programme kicks off on Monday. 


Here's the thing about the honey, Mummy...

We all know who the chef of the BECKICKLESIE Clan is and we sure know it isn't me! I have no penchant for creating a Full English masterpiece at quarter-past-too-early. Nope, definitely not. Especially so when it's not me eating it. I'm straight down the line, good and proper mummyfied goodness - a bowl of cereal, a slice of toast, grab a spoon and tuck in laddy.

Kidder usually has breakfast at nursery, he LOVES a certain type of cereal and apparently eats it every day. When I was sent a box of the new Honey Waffles I did consider that there could be a possibility he would refuse to desert his favourite brand.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Gallery: Week 29 - Food (Jamie Oliver Kitchen Kit)

She must have known! BECKICKLESIE has been planning the launch of Oui Chef! Virtual Kitchen for well over a month now. Myself and Cheffy Daddy were delighted when we saw that this week Tara from Sticky Fingers had picked 'Food' as the prompt for The Gallery this week.

It has just fitted in so nicely with our launch!

Food! Well, where can start? It is a MASSIVE deal for our family. Cheffy Daddy is, well, obviously a Chef. And by 'Chef' I mean 'Chef', not a cook or someone who leaves a microwave to ping. He's good and his food is gorgeous. We decided to share some of his recipes with the world and so Cheffy Daddy was born. 

Wordless Wednesday - Pierre Hermé

Cheffy Daddy's Basic French Macaron Recipe is here

(c) 2010 BECKICKLESIE

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Oui Chef! - Is that it?

Oh no, my friends! We've still got six days left of all this cooking madness!

As if the launch of Oui Chef! wasn't enough for you, and a brand spanking EXCLUSIVE Jamie Oliver video recipe didn't quite do the trick... 

Hmmm *scratches head*



You're RIGHT! We need to see some Jamie Oliver prizes perhaps? Or how about something for the budding mini chefs out there? A prize perhaps from CSN Online Stores? They do wardrobes but, I thought a bit of kiddie cookware might be a bit more appropriate? Some fantastic Cheffy Daddy recipes with the chance to kick off your Oui Chef! points early? A taste of the sweet smell of success, or perhaps a smell of the sweet taste of honey? A video post? 


EXCLUSIVE - Jamie Oliver (Slow Cooked Pork)


Have I got a treat for you today! To celebrate the launch of Oui Chef! on BECKICKLESIE we've teamed up with Jamie Oliver to offer you an EXCLUSIVE peak at one of his new recipes;

SLOW COOKED PORK WITH SPICED APPLE SAUCE

*Melts* That's right folks, this is a pre-release and you can't see it anywhere else but here on BECKICKLESIE. Get your note-pads out and start jotting because let me tell you this is just 'pukka'...

Oui Chef! - Big Launch


Food. Definitely more than just an energy source. It brings back memories, it can inspire and it is who we are. No two people have exactly the same taste or relationship with food. No two babies will have been weaned identically. It also represents family life and that is, after all, what BECKICKLESIE is based on. Nothing brings the relatives closer together than a family Dinner. 


Monday, 27 September 2010

Sh-Boom!

Hands up - I'm a lover of 50's/60's music. Pretty much more than modern day stuff to be honest. My H2B and I have always enjoyed listening to the older music. We've both studied many different genres. He plays guitar and mandolin and also writes music/lyrics (Yes, multi-talented, my man! Not just a chef!). I can play and used to teach piano and I can do a little bit on the sax. *Whispers* I have been known to write music too, but shhhhh... we don't talk of it - I am not, well, Mozart. We could really be a little Von Trapp family, if we so desired. You know, with Kidder on the drums!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Five Fs Meme: I am a Twitterholic

Kate over at The Five Fs blog tagged me in a Twitter themed Meme on Friday;
I have been considering starting a Twitter meme for a while and I'm just getting around to it now. That's the problem you have when you have too many ideas for blog posts in your head.

NIP + FAB Giveaway

**THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED**

Well, I don't know about you but I love a treatment or two. I love feeling replenished, refreshed, relaxed. I love feeling good afterwards.

I've had various forms of holistic spa treatments; hopi ear candling, indian head massage, reflexology etc. - holistic treatments are my 'thing'. I'm also partial to a facial. I visited the Le Petit Spa at the Birmingham Malmaison last February and the facial I had there was sensational. I hadn't realised how badly the condition of my skin had deteriorated; after the treatment it felt new like a baby's bum! A fix.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

We have WINNERS!

The icklebabe.com competition shut it's doors last night at 11:59pm; comments were closed and counted up and we have WINNERS!

Having winners is fun, I like it muchly!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken!

I'll never forget when the day when I received a phone call at work from Kidder's Nursery to tell me that they thought he had contracted Chickenpox. Oh holey moley! 

I picked the little man up and sure as hell, it was the dreaded pox. His temperature had rocketed and he'd not really been himself for a week or so; of course he hadn't, you silly mare, he'd contracted the pox virus. In true first-time-parent style, I googled Chickenpox on the internet and up came a load of information about the virus in general, but also details regarding complications which can occur. 

There's still time...

If you're quick, that is!

The icklebabe.com competition closes TODAY at 23:59hrs (UK GMT)*. The competition is an International giveaway and is really easy to enter.

Good luck everyone! You could win one of these cutesy personalised Twitter Mugs as well as some other fab prizes.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Autumn Fruit Crumble & Ice-Cream


As promised, here is your first Autumn seasonal recipe from the resident BECKICKLESIE chef. One to make your mouth water! Enjoy and do tell me how you get on...



Autumn Fruit Crumble, Vanilla Ice Cream

Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year as a chef and spiritually aswell. I feel at peace in Autumn, and the pace of life slows down just a little bit before the Christmas rush.

Only one can live while the other survives...

I am like a little kid! I really am. 

Whilst having a fun-filled midnight snoop on Facebook, I came across this trailer. It's the official full length main Deathly Hallows trailer, Eeeek! I nearly wee'd with excitement - Bring on November! 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Fine! I admit it!

There's one thing I left out of my weekend summary. A thing which I think will lead you all to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

Wordless Wednesday - Breast Pad Fail




8

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Gallery: Week 28 - A Smile

This is my Gallery debut! Wooohooo! I've been meaning to join for a while and I've finally got my arse into gear.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Things that test your commitment to life

Or a.k.a. - my weekend.

As you can probably tell, blog wise, I've done quite a bit over the weekend. Designing headers, badges, messing with widgets and codes etc. But I'm also a Mum and I'm proud to say despite my tight deadline of having my blog fixed by Monday morning, and not sleeping, I've been on top form mum-wise.

I've survived the past couple of days through the following;

Welcome, one & all!

A little letter to you!

And here we are, as promised! The brand spanking new BECKICKLESIE.

There's still a few little things that need tweaking but it will all be done behind the scenes; *whispers* no one will ever know!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Beckickles will be with you shortly

I've not gone away - I am still here. Messing with widgets and what not. Normal service will resume by Monday 20th September. Honestly. It will.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Thankyou Lovely People!

I'm currently fiddling about with BECKICKLESIE like there's no tomorrow, trying to get apps/widgets/thingie-ma-bobs working and up and running.

If at any point you visit and it looks bloody awful, I do apologise. I'm getting there.

A Different Kind of Adoption

I was reading The Book Chook blog a couple of days ago and came across the post, 'Save the Words'.

The post introduced me to a fabulous website. Save the Words encourages people to 'adopt-a-word';

Systems Down

H2B's phone died a sad death on Monday night. Until late yesterday afternoon I had absolutely no way of contacting him whilst he was working other than email. He stays at work for periods of four or five days at a time, so this is horrendous. 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Cutest Thing

"Muuuuuuuuummy!"
"Uh!" (or some other monosyllabic utterance) *eyes open suddenly as if been pierced in arse with razor blade*
"Muuuummy! Where car gone?"
*Searches under pillow frantically for phone with one arm whilst rest of body still dead to the world*
"Where Harry's car gone, Muuuuuuumy!?"
*Squints whilst looking at phone screen* Half past one?! CARS?! Bloooody hell. "Mummy's coming darling!"

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis CARROLL) Book Review

I would like to begin by stating that this book is my favourite read of all time. It's often hard to pick a favourite book, and I have I like that come close behind (eg. Great Expectations and One Day). The winning factor for me is that Carroll manages to captivate from the start; pushing magic and adventure into our lives, a classic piece of literature which is somehow flooded with contemporary themes, wonderment that hasn't ages as technology and science have advanced, quirky, humourously nonsensical, art.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Promise

I recently, I expect like many of you, read the post Mami is sad again over at 'Mummy's Busy World - by Me, Little M'. Little M's blog is one of my favourites out there and Maria, the mastermind behind Mummy's Busy World, is one of the loveliest women I've met through the blogging/tweeting world.

Wordless Wednesday - The only way to eat a jam tart



Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Four Aces

I like to think that my H2B and me have a healthy relationship. We have bad days, like everyone else, but at the end of those days we're there for each other; holding on, a team.

So why when he rolls in smelling of whiskey and cigars, after a night of playing poker with his lad pals, am I bothered? 

Postman Pat Live: A Very Royal Mission

** Not a sponsored post **

On 4th August this year, I took DS to see Postman Pat Live at the Opera House in Manchester. 

Little H is a MASSIVE Postman Pat fan, it has worn off a bit of late but he has all of the playset stuff from Character. He also had a Postman Pat themed party for his 2nd Birthday. Having all of the DVDs and watching Pat on CBeebies we thought that a trip to the theatre to see the Greendale gang would be right up his street.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Lady Killer

When I take DS to bed at night, I tuck him in tight and put my head on his pillow for a little while. He grins at me with the most loving smile you could ever imagine and frequently puts his little arm around me so he can hold me. We have little kisses and often play around doing kisses on the nose, on the ears and then having a giggle. It's become a really enjoyable time.

Putting him to bed used to be hell, and not so long ago. In fact, it was only last month that I blogged Cry Baby which discussed my feelings towards  leaving my little 'un to cry at night. It isn't something I did when he was small, but something I had to be gutsy about when he reached an age when it became purely paddy and a result of learnt behaviour.

My DS at his nursery gate
A few nights ago I was laid with my son, with my head on his pillow, and he was talking to me about school (nursery). He'd had a nice day apparently and he was friends with Child A but definitely not friends with Child B. DEFINITELY not Child B, don't even think it, heaven forbid!

Then I asked him who his best friend was and he said it was a girl. A little shocked, but OK with it, I repeated the name I thought I'd heard and I was right. I asked why she was his best friend and it is because she plays cars with him the best and apparently she's good at playing in the tunnel.

So then I delved a little further and asked him about Child C, D and E who are all girls (I know their names from the Christmas card list). Low and behold, he's not their friends, he likes them and he does kisses with them! 

His best friend is a girl and he knows the difference between a girl who's a friend and a girlfriend that you kiss.

How is that possible?

I explored the issue and apparently he likes to kiss the girls quite frequently or 'lots' as he put it. I know there's a girl who he really has a thing for, he was distraught for about a week when she was moved upstairs into the Pre-School Room. I had many lengthy conversations which consisted mainly of this dialogue;

'Child F gone upstairs. Harry not see anymore.'
'But you can still see her at outdoor time, can't you? You can play outside with Child F?'
'Yes. Not in Harry's room. Gone away.'

Real pain.

Isn't it strange how quickly children form relationships. Is it natural or is it learnt? He's definitely an emotional and loving soul, yet so am I and maybe he gets that from me. I recently read an article which suggested that although it is perfectly natural for children to form relationships, the quality and strength of the relationships they build is affected by their upbringing. The article highlighted family life (such as divorced parents and  alcoholism), differentness (e.g. children from care, handicapped or disabled people) and social behaviour as the key factors in the contribution to poor inter-child relationships.

It also suggested that your child's inability to build relationships with their peers should also be cause for concern;
'...these children miss out on opportunities to learn social skills that will be important throughout their lives. Especially critical are the skills needed to initiate and maintain social relationships and to resolve social conflicts, including communication, compromise, and tact (Asher and others 1982). Children who lack ongoing peer involvements also may miss opportunities to build a sense of social self-confidence.' (Burton, 1986)
It then goes on to elaborate on issues surrounding self doubt and sensitivity due to lack of typical child interaction and also feelings of isolation.

The first thing I thought was that the research paper I was reading was old. It was written for my parents, not me, so I looked around and the principles are the same. Even now. This got me thinking about the example I was setting and how my health could potentially affect my DS. 

After much deliberating, on serious notes and taunting myself I decided that he must be fine; he likes kissing and he misses people when they're not there. He knows how to build friendships and he knows who is nice to him and who isn't. How he handles that *cough* is a different matter.

Surely that's enough for a toddler to contend with? It seems pretty normal to me, despite whatever issues our family have had. 

Do any of your children struggle to make friends? Struggle to keep them? Prefer to be on their own? Cock of the class? What are your views on how upbringing can affect your child's inter-child relationships?

My honest concern here is that he openly admits to kissing at least three girls a day. What a hussy.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Who does Little H love?

Little H returned from his Grandma & Granddad's yesterday full of beans. He comes back just before story time and has about 20 minutes play before he has to get himself ready for story/bed time.

Crawling up on to my knee last night he delightfully informed the household that he loves Mummy. I give him a great big hug and say 'I love you too, you're Mummy's best!'. He then continues, 'Harry loves Mummy and Daddy and Gracie and Granddad and Grandma...' - how sweet!

'Who does Harry love bestest?' I ask, full of awe

His answer?

'BOOBIES!'

OK. Guess he's not a legs man then, eh. A boob bloke already. Jeez.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Superly Duperly Brillianté

I have pictures. New pictures. Pictures of my amazingly awesome, brand spankingly new, personalised Twitter Mug. Courtesy of icklebabe.com. I could not be happier with it and if you haven't entered the competition to win one (with no catches) you must be stark raving bonkers!

icklebabe.com do lots of other beautiful things, of course, but my cup beats them all. I even challenge that my cup will beat your cup if you win one. It is just delightful. I opened the butterfly sprinkled box (always magical) to find a bubble wrapped (always fun), tissue wrapped (always exciting) parcel, tied with a raffia type ribbon (always charming)!

I usually worry folks when parcels come so nicely wrapped. Maybe it's the pessimist coming out in me, but I do think, 'Now, is this product going to live up to the wrapping?'...

IT SO BLOODY DID!

Gorgeous. The product completely reflected the thought and attention to detail that had gone into the packaging of the item. It's just beautiful. I'm chuffed.  

Pride of Place in my Kitchen
Personalised 'Beckicklesie' with my very own Twitter Cup

You know what I doubly love? The thought that has gone into painting my little walking brew! It features on my Twitter page and it was just lovely to see that icklebabe.com didn't just regard my order as money in the back pocket; it was a unique project and that just adds to the specialness of both the cup and the company.

Do you want one of these? Well, you can have one, for sure! Just go to the Brew Drinking Thinkings: icklebabe.com competition. It's so easy to enter and one of these beauties or some other great products could be yours. 
Good Luck Tweetie-Pies!

Cotton Wool Kids

It was only a few days ago that I wrote the post A Storm in a Teacup which explored my feelings towards my little boy splitting his chin open during outdoor play at nursery. This resulted in an A&E admission and a steri-stripped, glued up bairn. I did conclude that, after much deliberation and following the realisation that my son, in hindsight, thinks it was a pretty cool event, kids are kids... let them get bumps and bruises, let them play.

So I was doubly chuffed when I read Ameila Hill's article for the Guardian, Health and safety concerns are restricting children's school playtime

The article highlights the views and opinions of selected child psychologists who believe that children who are being brought up wrapped in 'cotton wool' are not being adequately prepared for future, difficult, circumstances. Although in my initial post I was concerned regarding the fact that I was worried over nothing, my little boy could pick himself up of the ground, have a cuddle and get on with things. Whereas I was a state for days, fussing and mythering over something that wasn't really that big of a deal. He needed to learn that if you crash, you get hurt.

However the Guardian article takes things further, thinking outside the box what can wrapping your children in cotton wool when they're young can mean to them later in life;
Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist who advises the association, said: "'Cotton wool' children are growing up without having been given the opportunity to learn how to assess risks. Children have to have bumps and scrapes to teach them what's safe and what's not. Children who have all elements of danger removed from their lives grow up to think they are invincible. This doesn't just affect the accidents they might have when riding a bike or exploring a river, but it has a knock-on effect in terms of drug culture and gang violence."
What's worse than this is the understanding that it is our doing, the parents. Yes, yes, it's always the parents. But in this case, I actually believe it might be. I do believe that teachers and nursery workers are terrified of children getting hurt because they just don't want the blame or the backlash from the parents. When my DS hurt himself recently, you may remember that I sent his key worker at nursery a bunch of flowers. Firstly, because she dealt with the situation really well; secondly, I was glad she was there; and thirdly, because she was able to comfort my son and I trust her to do that. However after everything was sorted she told me how shaken up and upset she was. She was genuinely worried about him and I expect a little bit of that angst was related to how I would react when I found out. 

It seems that schools are taking drastic measures to ensure that their backs are covered in today's suing culture, as Michael Follett, the local authority adviser for play in South Gloucestershire suggests;

"The way that play is managed in today's schoolyards is not based around what's good for the children but around the best way for schools to protect themselves against complaints and being sued," he said.
"Managing rough and tumble play can be difficult and requires quick and complex judgements by adults. It is much easier to close down that sort of play altogether and that, increasingly, is the option schools are taking, forbidding children to engage in any games that involve them even coming into contact with each other, for example, or running too fast."
At a time when we may not feel it's safe to let our children play out 'down the fields' or at the local park maybe we need to be considering our own views on our own kids playtime. It seems to me that a few bumps and bruises now could potentially save a whole lot of more serious damage as our children get older.

Just something to think about.



References
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/sep/07/health-and-safety-children-school-play

Picture Credits
School Yard - Guardian
Cotton Wool Kid - Ansy

Friday, 10 September 2010

World Suicide Prevention Day


I'll be honest; I had absolutely no idea that there was such a day. In fact, if it wasn't for the lovely tweeter Sarah Pearson @running4mytwin promoting the event this morning I would have been none the wiser. 

World Suicide Prevention Day is recognised and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in attempt to raise awareness of mental health and suicide with the aim that with the right support and guidance premature deaths can be avoided. The WHO website states;
World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September promotes worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.
The sponsoring International Association for Suicide Prevention, the co-sponsor WHO and other partners advocate for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempted suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicides in the media.
At the global level, awareness needs to be raised that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. Governments need to develop policy frameworks for national suicide prevention strategies. At the local level, policy statements and research outcomes need to be translated into prevention programmes and activities in communities.
A subject matter which is close to my heart after I myself luckily experienced a failed suicide attempt in 2006 after taking a fatal overdose. 

I felt at the time people didn't understand and that there was no way out. I was low and needed to escape. Luckily, because of advances in the awareness of mental health, even though I am still unwell I receive daily input from the Crisis Team and from the Early Intervention Team. 

It is so important that we break through the mental health stigma. It is an illness just like any other and one in four people suffer from some kind of mental health issues in their lifetime. 

It is also important to remember those who do die as a result of suicide and the impact that has on their families. It is about making sure the right support is there for them to, they are the victims of an unthinkable pain.

More Information on the prevention of Suicide can be found on the International Association for Suicide Prevention Website and also on the World Health Organisation Website.

Please spread the word.

The Biscuit Maker

Beckicklesie, a blog that primarily explores family life with posts on books, mental health and shopping (be it wedding/fashion/homeware) along the way. So why macarons? Why not have a cup of tea to illustrate the slogan 'Brew Drinking Thinkings'? Why not have a mother/child related logo? What IS the obsession with macarons on this blog?

I knew I would, at some point, tell you what it was all about. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was someone far, far more fitting to tell this tale than myself. I approached a chef and asked him to write a post about macarons. And so I present to you, my first guest post, my partner, my H2B, Jack...
~~~~

A macaron is a parisian biscuit, famed for its delicacy and elegance. Perfectly smooth and crisp on the outside, soft and chewy in the centre. Two outer shells with a little layer of skirt, or “feet” on the bottom. The list of ingredients belittles the actual effort and technique that goes into making these little blighters. Quite simply; egg whites, almonds, and sugar.
Not in any way to be confused with their coconut flavoured cousins. To think so is a cardinal sin.
A cup of tea potentially has more ingredients to it. So why are they so famous in Paris? Why so sought after? Why so difficult to make?

More than all that though, macarons were a sore subject for me for a long time. See I set my mind on it, and I was going to accomplish it at all costs.
In a typically French sense of ambiguity, the recipes were filled with descriptions such as “the batter must flow like lava” and the correct amount of stirring. One more or one less stir than required and your macaron batter could potentially collapse.
The first results were a disaster. Hardly edible. I tried everything to make this work. I made a tray, it collapsed. I had to start again, straight away. The kitchen was filled with trays of tortured, bent out of shape vaguely biscuit-looking creatures. I aged egg whites for a week at room temperature to improve the meringue. I ground the almonds further. I experimented with different nuts, sugars, temperatures.

Obsession probably isn’t the right word, but it’s close enough.

Factor in that I shared this kitchen with Beckickles and every time she wanted to make a brew or check if the washing was finished it was like a veritable assault course of mixing bowls and egg whites.
She was on to me.
I was cleverer than that though. See, I made trays of macarons, and cleaned everything away before she got home. The kitchen was spotless and she need never know. Well, until she looked in the bin and saw another 20 disfigured macarons perched there.
‘Maybe I should start burying them in the garden?’ I pose to myself.
Imagine how my long time partner, your faithful blogger Beckickles felt about this. There were now four elements to our relationship. In her mind the biscuits tasted fine and I should stop being silly.


“...but they have no feet!” I said, to a vacant face.


Eventually, I achieved my goal after kilos of icing sugar, pounds and pounds of almonds and numerous trays of eggs. I made the perfect macaron, as good as anyone else in the world. I finally understood what made it work. There’s something about achieving your goal that leaves you feeling empty.

However, a few months later, this struggle for perfection mirrored tensions between me and Becca, and we took some time apart. I was heartbroken.
I lacked everything in me to exist with the rest of the humans. For months I was hardly there. I disappeared in the corner of every room. I missed them both too much.
Nothing is as lonely or deprived as a biscuit maker with nobody to make biscuits for.
I knew what I wanted. The key to my happiness. I wanted Becca and Harry, and she was my Everest to climb. My at-all-costs accomplishment.

The key to making our relationship work was exactly the same as the macarons. The bad times are inevitable. Expected, even. I’ve learnt to appreciate the bad times with Becca and Harry as much as I have the good times. The bad times with her are better than the good times without her.

...and maybe, just once you get a little bite of perfection.


On her birthday last year, I sent a box of macarons from Paris to her front door; we enjoyed them as a family at Center Parcs, took Harry to see Father Christmas, and we were whole again. I’ll send a box every year, because in a round about way, it means something.

Harry tries his first macaron

So, I give you my recipe, my treasured formula, because it’s sort of useless on its own somehow. And if you want to take the challenge, and welcome the house of obsession into your life, then let it be.

...also, they're pretty tasty.


Basic Macaron Recipe
280g Ground Almonds
280g Icing Sugar
280g Caster Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites (Aged at room temperature for at least 24 hours)
3 Large Egg Whites (fresh as possible, also room temperature)

Preheat your oven to 140c.

Grind the ground almonds and icing sugar in a blender until resembles fine sandy dust. Sift through a fine sieve, then repeat the process and sift it again. I regrind the mixture again, I think this is a mental thing perhaps but I include anyway. Reserve this mixture.

Place the caster sugar in a pan with a little water (25ml or so) and bring to a boil. The syrup, when ready should look glossy, the bubbles should be large and it should look syrupy. This should be timed with the next step – whipping the egg whites.

Start to whip the aged egg whites in a stand mixer and when nearly doubled in size (very white, light, airy, and just about holding their own shape) slowly add the hot sugar syrup. Allow the stand mixer to whip the meringue until the bowl of the stand mixer no longer feels warm. Reserve this.

Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar, with the FRESH egg whites. Mix well until combined into a dense paste.

Now mix the meringue with the almond mixture, but not all at once. Mix about 30% of the meringue into the almond mix, and mix well, but don’t spend too long mixing. Do it quickly and efficiently. Then mix the remaining meringue. Take care not to overmix and to quote another recipe, the mixture should flow like lava. Transfer the mixture gently to a piping bag.

Pipe onto a baking sheet or greaseproof paper in rounds and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 140c, or until the outside feels crisp and smooth and a skirt has appeared at the base of the macaron. Take care not to colour the macarons, they should be crisp, but not golden brown. They should remain white.

Good luck?


Written By Guest Blogger
Jack
~~~~

So there you go, now you know; Beckicklesie - brews, books and always macarons.


Thursday, 9 September 2010

COMPETITION: Brew Drinking Thinkings

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED


To promote BECKICKLESIE'S proud and punchy slogan 'Brew Drinking Thinkings' I've decided to give you all a little treat this week!

I'm just so over my little brew moon with my new personalised Twitter cup by Helen White at icklebabe.com! It's so bloody beautiful, I am running a fun and fantastic competition to give you the chance to win your very own hand painted, personalised mug. Of course, to aid your Brew Drinking Thinkings.


Two lucky winners will be able to choose from either the 'Over Capacity' Fail Whale Mug or the 'I'd Rather be Tweeting' Twitter Bird Mug. Both of these prizes will be personalised with the twitter name of the winners choosing.


I gave Helen a quick message to ask if she minded me offering her products as part of the competition and low and behold she's thrown in some extra goodies too! Meaning two more lucky entrants will be in with a chance of winning one of the following extra special prizes;

This lovely Tea Cosy is handmade in lilac shabby chic fabric with 'stitch drawn' and hand painted tea cup on the front. Bloomin' lovely! What a great addition to your brew drinking thinking apparatus collection!







For those of you who don't like brews (how very dare you!) do not despair! Our forth and final prize up for grabs is a beautifully unique London T-Shirt in size 12-18 months. The tee is made using Cath Kidston London print fabric and vintage buttons.







So how do you enter? SIMPLES!

1. Do two of the following - (an extra entry will be granted to those who do all four!)

  • Follow Beckicklesie in your reader or join the email subscription scheme using the widgets to the right of this post
  • Join the Beckicklesie fan page on Facebook: Find it here
  • Follow Beckicklesie on Twitter: Find Beckicklesie here  
  • Re-tweet the competition link on Twitter

2. Following this write a comment below stating what you love about icklebaby.com! Also include a;

  • F if you've followed on Facebook
  • T if you've followed on Twitter
  • R if you've followed in a reader and
  • RT if you've retweeted on Twitter

3. If you'd really like the girls 12-18 months tee then please let us know that too within your comment!

All prizes will be awarded randomly and the closing date for entries is Friday 24th September 2010 at 11:59hrs

Good Luck Everyone! SPREAD THE WORD! FREE THINGS!



All of the listed items and many, many more are available for purchase on icklebabe.com
Also keep your eyes peeled for the opening launch of icklebabe.com coming really soon!

Please note that different t-shirt sizes and styles are available for purchase directly through the icklebabe website, however this competition is for a sized 12-18 month I love London tee.
  1. This is an international competition and therefore is open for worldwide entries. 
  2. Entrants must participate in all stages of the competition instructions to enter.
  3. The first two names, selected at random will win a personalised icklebabe.com mug worth £8.95. The third and forth names selected will win the tea cosy, worth £26.00, and the London t-shirt, worth £12.95, in this order. 
  4. Where the third entrant has stated that they would like to receive the London t-shirt as a prize, and the forth entrant has not; the third entrant will win the the t-shirt and the forth will win the tea cosy.
  5. BECKICKLESIE cannot be held responsible for items which are delayed, not received or damaged. Proof of postage is not proof of delivery.
  6. A second entry will be awarded to those who follow Beckicklesie on Twitter, in their blog reader, Like the Beckicklesie Facebook Page and Re-Tweet the competition on Twitter including a link to the competition page. Failure to reference all four actions in the comments section of the post will result in one entry only.
  7. The Competition closes at 23:59hrs GMT London, UK on Friday 24th September 2010. Entries made after this time will not be included in the draw.
  8. The prizes are as stated and cannot be exchanged, transferred or sold. No cash alternative is available.
  9. Winners will be notified within 10 working days from 27th September 2010. Please allow 30 working days from this date for delivery of your prize.
  10. If the successful entrant does not respond to their notification of winning within 7 working days another winner for their prize will be selected.
  11. By entering you are bound to these terms and conditions.
All products are supplied by icklebabe.com. The Twitter Mugs are courtesy of BECKICKLESIE. The Tea Cosy and London T-Shirt are courtesy of icklebabe.com.


Watching the Weight

I 'fess up. I am totally, completely and utterly a yo-yo dieting, binge-eating sucker. I'm terrible. Terrible like you wouldn't believe.

I have an odd relationship with food. When all is well I can turn on the switch in my brain that says 'eat modestly' and I do just that. I'm really good. I stick to diets and I lose weight. Never quite enough, but none-the-less I lose it. When I'm not so good I eat for England. These 'not so good' periods tend to take up most of my year, so you will find that I manage to diet successfully around once or twice a year. Every year. 

A shameful picture from 2005, the drinking era
In the new year of 2005 my friend and I joined Weight Watchers. I wasn't heavy, I just wanted to lose half a stone in time for summer. I'm 5ft 6inch, I have size 6 feet and I'm normally a size 12/14. At the time I was a definite size 12 and I weighed about 10 stone 2lbs. I managed to reach my goal of nine and half stone in time for summer and I was happy with my weight. It's the best I've ever felt about my body image. I was a size 10/12, normally a 12 and I felt comfortable.

Sadly that year I lost a very young and close relative and it sent me on a downwards spiral. I drank every day, sometimes even in the mornings and I was out partying all of the time trying to distract myself. I lost more weight from constantly busying myself and drinking to the point of sickness and then carrying on again. I wouldn't eat, hardly ever and although I felt terrible inside I never looked it to others, on the outside. Hence why you will often hear me say these days that I don't often drink anymore.

I started dating my H2B in August 2005 and after a couple of months of 'messing around' we got serious pretty quickly. By the new year I couldn't really imagine my life without him and spent all of my time with him. And I guess it goes to prove that meeting someone when you're young can really last.

But I got comfortable. I PILED on weight. Or at least I thought I had. We went to Mexico in Summer 2007 and by this time I was just short of 11stone. I looked at the holiday snaps and I was seriously ashamed of myself.

Me in Mexico, 2007 with a terribly wobbly stomach. Don't let the legs deceive you!

On return from Mexico we got some news, I was pregnant and we were expecting our first child. Obviously, I didn't embark on any dieting adventures when I was pregnant but I did have a condition, Hyperemesis Gravidarum. In English, it means you're sick, a lot, all the time, continuously, no break from it. Not just morning sickness, whenever you have it morning, noon or night. Oh, no, I'm talking sick from the minute you wake to the minute you sleep and then the disruptions in the night too. Hospital admissions, anti sickness tablets, nothing could cure it. I couldn't eat so I lost weight. Lots of weight. 

When Harry was born, he was exclusively breastfed. I got slightly larger straight after, I was a size 14/16 and I was OK with it because I had a new baby and I needed to concentrate on that. At Harry's Christening I was wearing size 16 clothes and I felt big and embarrassed in front of people, but I knew that it wasn't the most important thing.

Harry's Christening - I'm in the middle, holding Harry. Size 16.

For the next few months I continued exclusively breastfeeding, I stayed at home and I ate chocolate and biscuits by the bucket load. My favourites at the time were Fox's Chunky Cookies and Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut. I was obsessed. I ate at least a packet of biscuits and a large bar of chocolate per day. In October 2008 I was just short of 14 stone. I was a size 18. Time to get back on the dieting wagon and stop being so much of a bloody pig.

Me at Size 18 in October 2009
With my step-dad and struggling to push Harry's pram at Center Parcs


Me & Jack in Nov 09 after a month of dieting
Harry started his baby led weaning in late October and the dieting commenced. I tried to cut carbs. I lived off meat, eggs, berries and veg. The weight just fell off me and by January 2009 I had lost a stone and a bit, I was 12 stone 7lbs. I was still larger than I wanted or should have been but it was an improvement. 

Sadly in February 2009 my H2B and I took some time apart. I was very low and ill and I piled the weight back on to 13 stone 4lbs. I let myself go and I didn't take care of myself. I was a mess and it wasn't just my weight. I went to stay with a friend in May 2009 and we went out for a drink when I was there. She inspired me to lose weight and when I got home I shed about two stone in three weeks. I lived off Atkins bars, milk, chicken and veg. Not healthy, but I wanted a quick fix. 

Me playing with Harry at his 1st Birthday.
H2B is in background but we were apart at the time

I got to 11 stone and I was happier but I wanted to lose a bit more. Unfortunately I became mentally unstable and stopped eating properly for a while. I did lose weight but I didn't monitor it and I didn't notice it. I just busied about. Manically. Not thinking. On auto-pilot. 

A thinner me
3 months after last pic
I was signed off work sick in December 2009 and the next few months I spent pretty much in bed. Reading, writing, trying to rest. I binged again and put on a ton of weight which went up to 12 stone. I  managed to lose enough to get me down to 10 stone 13lbs in May but I have since put weight on and I now weigh 11 stone 7lbs.  

I have also noticed that I am thinner when I smoke. I quit smoking when I found out I was pregnant and had a few puffs again when I lost weight after I visited my friend. Maybe Freud wasn't as barmy as we thought.

I'll lose weight again, when my mind is well and healthy. When I get married I will lose more weight and really,  let's be honest to go from 14 stone to 11 stone 7lbs in two years isn't too bad. I know when I'm piling weight on, first of all I start to feel a bit uncomfortable but the massive telling factor is my face. If you look at all of the pictures in this post my face changes completely when I am slimmer and bigger. I'm not one of those people who suit being large. I look uneasy with it.

It isn't healthy how I eat and I just wondered if anyone else is the same? Do other people binge? Do you do it for extended periods, like me, or just as a treat every once in a while? What is your favourite diet? Do you not believe in dieting?

Me more recently - eating, of course!
I can honestly say that I thoroughly believe that my dieting habits correlate completely with my mental health. Whether it be losing too much or gaining too much I believe that I won't sort my image out until I sort out the other parts of my ill health. And maybe then I won't need to diet because I will be happy in my own skin and I will see the person my H2B sees.



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